By: Koki Riley
YARMOUTH, MA- For one final time this summer, J.R. McDermott (Colorado-Mesa) took the mound as a member of the Brewster Whitecaps, looking to end his remarkable season with one final standout performance.
It wasn’t the finale that McDermott (2-2) had hoped for, however, as the righty lasted just 3.1 innings, surrendering three runs and took the loss as the Whitecaps (12-11-1) fell to the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox (13-10-1) by a score of 4-0 at Red Wilson Field on Monday, snapping the team’s four game winning streak.
Before Monday’s contest, Whitecaps coach Jamie Shevchik said McDermott needed to command his fastball down in the strike zone to find success and force Red Sox hitters to fall behind in counts and have to deal with off-speed pitches.
McDermott, pitching on four days of rest after making each of his previous four starts on at least five days of rest, had trouble locating his fastball, leaving pitches elevated and throwing just 39 of his 71 pitches for strikes.
“A lot of his stuff was up and his control wasn’t there,” Shevchik said. “I think part of that was he came back on short rest…It wasn’t easy on him, we kind of put him in a bad spot, but it was his last day and he wanted one more start and after what he’s done for us this year we’re certainly going to give him that.”
“It was tough. My arm felt very heavy today but there’s nothing you can do about that,” said McDermott. “I need to come out and compete a little better.”
McDermott, who came to Brewster on a temporary contract from a Division II school and made his first start back on June 15th in what Shevchik called a “tryout,” finished his tenure as a Whitecap with a 2.81 ERA and 23 strikeouts, which tied for seventh in the league through Monday’s games.
“It’s been awesome. It’s been a great opportunity to come out here and play with the best,” McDermott said, smiling. “I’ve learned so much about myself and stuff I need to improve on going in to next year. I’m excited to go back, but it’s sad to leave.”
“This is not going define his Cape season because he’s had a great summer and we’re happy for him,” said Shevchik.
McDermott reached his season innings limit after throwing a combined 109.1 frames between school and his time on the Cape.
“It’s already a family,” said McDermott about his teammates. “I’ve known these guys for a month and I’ll probably stay in touch with them for the rest of my life.”
The right-hander had zero room for error, however, as the Brewster offense was held to just four hits and consistently stymied by Red Sox starter Kris Bubic (Stanford).
Bubic (3-1) finished his outing after six shutout innings, allowing just three hits, striking out five, and walking none.
“He did a really good job,” Shevchik said about Bubic. “He mixed up his pitches, he kept us off balance and he picked up a bunch of strikeouts.”
The greatest Whitecaps threat came in the eighth inning when Mickey Gasper (Bryant) doubled to right field to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a Nick Dunn (Maryland) groundout.
Red Sox reliever Andrew Quezada (Cal State Fullerton) retired the next two Whitecaps hitters, however, preserving the Y-D shutout.
“We struck out way too much today and we couldn’t get anything going,” Shevchik said.
Quezada followed fellow Red Sox reliever Tanner Graham (UAB) and the duo combined to pitch three scoreless innings in relief of Bubic.
Y-D’s offense, on the other hand, got out to the fastest start they could have as leadoff hitter Nico Hoerner (Stanford) took the first pitch he saw from McDermott and drove it over the fence in center field to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead just one pitch into the game.
The Red Sox added two more runs in the third inning after an Alfonso Rivas (Arizona) home run to center field brought home Alex McKenna (Cal Poly).
Both Y-D home runs came on pitches McDermott left elevated in the zone and were driven out to center field where the fence is just a mere 352 feet away at Red Wilson Field.
The final Red Sox run crossed the plate when Carlos Cortes (South Carolina) came home on a Connor Kaiser (Vanderbilt) single in the seventh inning.
Brewster’s bullpen gave the offense a chance to come back, with Will Tribucher (Michigan) shutting down the Red Sox over 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, while striking out five.
“It was really good,” Shevchik said. “I think the more confidence that he gets, the better he’s going to be,”
A pair of Indiana Hoosiers, Jonathan Stiever and Pauly Milto, tossed an inning each, giving up just one hit and one run (zero earned) and striking out one Red Sox hitter.
“We’re getting down the stretch run, these guys are becoming more valuable,” said Shevchik. “Pitching is wearing thin, we’re getting down to crunch time, and we’re going to heavily rely on everyone in the bullpen. The opportunities are going to be there, when they get them they’re going to need to perform.”
The win gives the Red Sox a one-game advantage over the Whitecaps in the Eastern Division standings as both clubs entered Monday’s contest with identical records.
WHAT’S NEXT: Brewster travels to Wareham for a makeup of July 7th’s rainout against the Gatemen. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. from Spillane Field.